After incurring criticism last week for her invocation to a Senate session that children are “under attack” from “forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know,” State Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) has doubled down on that rhetoric and accused her critics of being “groomers” that “sexualize” children.
As reported by Michigan Advance, Theis’ invocation prompted three Democratic senators to walk out of the session in protest; Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills).
Now the publication is reporting that Theis has gone even further with a fundraising email Monday claiming Democrats like Senators McMorrow, Polehanki and Bayer are “trolls” and “groomers” that “sexualize” children, points of view that are in line with those who adhere to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
Entitled, “groomers outraged by my invocation,”
the email goes on to say, “Progressive social media trolls like Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Snowflake) who are outraged they can’t … groom and sexualize kindergarteners or that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.”
Theis then uses the email to call Democrats in favor of teaching their children about LGBTQ+ issues and examples of racism in American history, “enlightened elites” who believe parents “must surrender to the wisdom of teacher unions, trans-activists, and the education bureaucracy.”
Theis did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Michigan Advance for their story.
Speaking to the Advance Monday after seeing the fundraising email that specifically names her, McMorrow said Theis’ remarks are “vile.”
“What a horrible thing for a mother to say about another mother,” she said.
“I think the same thing that I thought last week, which is that this is an absolutely disgusting, vile attempt to scapegoat already-marginalized kids in the state of Michigan. It’s disgusting and I feel sad.”
McMorrow was asked by the Advance how she could work alongside Theis now, after the Republican appeared to insinuate that McMorrow grooms children.
“You don’t work with them. You work to get them out of office,” she replied.
“If she thinks this means I’m going anywhere, she’s got another thing coming. And it’s just sad that she’s taking advantage of constituents instead of actually working to fix people’s very real problems.”
The Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement Monday afternoon saying Theis “should not hold the title or position she does if she is going to use the pulpit to weaponize schoolchildren and launch baseless, despicable attacks against her colleagues.”
Theis is facing a primary challenge this year from Mike Detmer of Howell, who made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2020. Detmer has criticized Theis for accepting the results of a Senate Oversight report that found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election that Trump lost. In February, Detmer told supporters they should “be prepared to lock and load” at the polls.